5 Best Non-Fiction Books of 2017

Say what you want about 2017, but no one can deny that it was a year of spectacular writing. Non-fiction lovers were treated to numerous well-written books ranging in topics from new takes on famous historical figures to essays from highly regarded social commentators and more. Here are five of the best from the past year and why you should give each of them a read.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

You may not like the story of what happens to an Osage tribe of Native Americans when they discover oil on their previously deemed ‘unlivable’ land, but you probably need to hear it. Killers of the Flower Moon has been touted as ‘riveting’ and ‘disturbing’. It chronicles the first real murder investigation the newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation undertook—and bungled—and gives a chilling account on just how badly Native Americans have been treated in our country.

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

When poet Patricia Lockwood and her husband have to move back in with her wildly unconventional Catholic priest father, two worlds collide and no one is left untouched. This moving and incredibly funny memoir explores the meaning of religion, family, and what it means to be family.

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie

National Book Award winner and author of The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and has a wholly unique voice—both in his fiction and non-fiction. This book explores the troubled relationship he had with his mother, whose death was the impetus for him writing the memoir. As painful and funny as his prize-winning YA novel, this book grips the reader from page one.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

No one knows better what it’s like to be overweight in a society that values thinness like Roxane Gay. In this incredibly personal and moving memoir, Gay explores her past, her relationship with food, and the politics of weight today in a way that is both convincing and heart-wrenching. Those who have ever struggled with their weight as well as women who are continually trying to live up to society’s expectations will find this book illuminating and empowering.

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Scaachi Koul’s searing book of essays takes on everything from bikini waxing to fear of flying and what it means to be a woman straddling the line of tradition and independence. Her cultural observations and unflinching look at modern life resonates on every page. With plenty of humor and a keen eye for detail, Koul’s observations will make an impact on every reader who has wondered what it’s like to make a life that is truly their own.

Whether you look to non-fiction books to educate, illuminate, or touch your heart, 2017 had a large number of fascinating tales to choose from.